I love an excuse to wear something silly and hit the town, so needless to say, St. Patrick’s Day ranks pretty high on my holiday list. While I could probably do without queasy green beer, there is something about everyone out celebrating together that just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside (or it could be the Guinness…probably the Guinness). Most big cities have at least one parade or party going on, and if you happen to be in Boston or New York, it’s pretty much a city-wide party. Portland, which pretty much has a constant stream of events year round, does not disappoint on March 17. Here are some activities for you to get your green on this weekend!
For the Drinkers:
Regardless of the history of St. Patrick and what the day originally represented, no one can deny that St. Paddy’s Day has through the years become a beer drinker’s holiday. Almost any bar or restaurant you enter this weekend will be offering green beer, Guinness specials, or Irish Car Bombs. Luckily, this year the holiday falls on a Friday, so if you want to get really crazy, hopefully you won’t have to work in the morning. Just be wary of all those uber surcharges when you try to get home! Here are some of the best watering holes to get your green on (click on the event name for a link to the website).
St. Patrick’s Day at McMenamins: Visit any of the over 50 locations in Oregon and Washington for an awesome celebration. Feast on Irish stew, enjoy a stout, and at certain locations, grab a specialty bottle of their Devil’s Bit whiskey! There will be bagpipes, and fun for all!
Various Bar Crawls: Bar crawls seem to be a Portland holiday staple. Dress yourself in head-to-toe green, grab a wristband, and enjoy specials at various locations throughout town. I’ve linked 3 different crawls happening this weekend. Try one, or if your liver can handle it, try them all! (but PLEASE don’t drive!!)
Paddy’s 3 day St. Patrick’s Festival: Paddy’s Bar and Grill is Portland’s oldest Irish pub. Their festival lasts all weekend and boasts traditional Irish food, drinks, and entertainment. Located in the heart of downtown, you can add this festival on to your other celebrations or camp out in the tent all weekend (but they probably won’t let you sleep there)! Paddy’s has partnered with the Children’s Cancer Association, so you can be sure that your beer money is being put to good use.
Irish Beer Festival at Kells Brewpub: Featuring a host of locally brewed Irish beers, Kells is the quintessential Irish pub. The Irish beer festival is located at the brewpub on NW 21st Ave. The full Irish Festival spans both the brewpub and their downtown location and will transport you straight back to the Emerald Isle with a weekend full of music, Irish dancing, and other festivities. A full schedule of events for both spots can be found here.
Irish Craft Ale Festival at Feckin Brewery: I don’t think I can say it any better than the website, “As well as great beer, there will be bagpipers, 12 live bands and Irish dancers. Irish food including haddock fish and chips Irish lamb stew and corned beef sandwiches.” I have a soft spot for Oregon City, Feckin’s, and fish and chips, so you’ll probably find me here for at least part of the weekend!
For the Fitness-Minded:
Whether you’re focused on swimsuit season, hate loud, drunk people, or just want to get your steps in before you guzzle down calories all weekend, there are a couple great events this weekend to get you moving!
Shamrock Run and Fitness Fair: The Shamrock Run the largest running and walking event in Oregon and is the third largest running event in the western United States. Thousands of Oregonians descend on Waterfront Park every year decked in green to tackle one of the many offered courses. The primary beneficiary of this event is Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, which means you’re sweating for a great cause! The races are all on Sunday, but even if you don’t want to join in, you can visit the Fitness Fair at the Oregon Convention Center Friday and Saturday. Shop from vendors, get fitness tips, and play games at this free event!
The Dirty Leprechaun 5K: Who doesn’t love a good mud run? Located at Lee Farms in Tualatin, the Dirty Leprechaun is a fun event for anyone who would rather dive through the mud and clear obstacles than cruise through the streets of Portland. If you’ve ever done a Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash (or wanted to), this is the event for you!
For the Family:
While there’s no denying that St. Paddy’s Day is dominated by adult only events, there’s still options for all ages fun! Some of the above events are kid-friendly (McMenamins are all ages for at least most of the day, Kells Irish festival has areas where children are welcome, and of course the Leprechaun Lap at the Shamrock Run is for children), but these ones have focused children’s activities.
All Ireland Cultural Society of Oregon’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival: Looking for an authentic Irish experience? Look no further than this festival. The yearly fundraiser skips over the typical drunken shenanigans and focuses on the promotion of Irish culture. Children’s activities, including face painting, a coloring contest and a professional puppet show, ensure that the kids won’t get bored. Round out your day and stay for the traditional Irish supper.
Sellwood-Moreland St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival: I probably could have listed this under fitness, but there’s way more to this festival than the 5k fun run. After the run, enjoy a neighborhood parade led by the Sellwood Middle School Marching Band. After the parade, head to St. Agatha’s for a festival of live music, Irish dancing, a kid’s carnival and hearty Irish fare. As a Catholic school alum, I have a special place in my heart events like these.
Murphy’s Furniture St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Just outside Portland proper, you’ll find this super-festive parade. A tradition in Hillsboro for the past 40 years, this hour-long parade through town is open to everyone! Groups need only to fill out a form and pay the $20 fee to be included in the parade. Ooh and ahh at the floats and classic cars as they pass you by. Chow down on the Corned Beef and Cabbage Lunch after the parade at the Hillsboro Civic Center. Proceeds from the day will support the Hillsboro Boys and Girls Club.
How are you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year? 🍀
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked through Kenton Park, saw Parkside nestled on the corner of Brandon and Willis, and thought, “I should try that place.” It took me an embarrassing amount of time to actually make my way in the door, but once I did, I only wished that I had stopped in sooner! Tucked under an apartment complex directly across the street from the park, it’s a quiet neighborhood pub that serves up great food and drinks in a cozy environment.
The first thing you notice even before you walk in the door is how beautiful the surroundings are. Now, I’m a Kenton resident, so I may be a little biased, but Kenton Park is really pretty to look at. There’s some huge, old trees, and on a particularly nice day (like today!) you can spend the whole day under the shade of one just people watching. If you want to watch from a bit of a distance, the Parkside patio is perfect. You can enjoy the scenery while sipping on a crisp craft beer or one of their signature cocktails. The Bees Knees is delicious, but very pink!
Once you step inside, you’ll find a fully stocked bar dimly lit with Edison bulbs, a warm, inviting atmosphere, and a gorgeous fireplace to cozy up to when it’s a little chillier outside. It is a small space to be sure, but they have made the most of the space they have, so it feels intimate, not crowded. Once you take a seat, a friendly server will hand you a simple menu and point you in the direction of the beer list: about 6 rotating taps listed on a blackboard hanging on a post in the middle of the room.
Parkside doesn’t fuss with a complicated menu. There’s just a few items, but they’re all excellent. The chicken pot pie has a perfectly light and flaky crust. It comes with a side salad full of fresh greens and a light drizzle of vinaigrette. The true piece de resistance of the menu though, is the pulled pork mac and cheese. It is really exceptional. I can’t recommend it enough!
One of my favorite things about this local haunt has to be the game selection. There’s a ton to choose from and no matter if there’s 2 or 10 of you, you’re sure to find a game that will be fun for everyone. Even better than board games? Happy hour is from 4-6 daily, and ALL DAY on Monday! Now, this isn’t a terribly expensive bar in the first place but during happy hour you can enjoy $3.50 draft beers, $5 glasses of wine, and $3 well drinks. That’s a great deal no matter where you are!
The next time you’re in Kenton, make a point to stop by Parkside. You’ll be glad you did!
All photos are from the Parkside Yelp page